Mohd. Riyaz Malik
Jammu and Kashmir – the place known as ‘heaven on earth’also has to go through the process of elections. Regardless of how different this state is geographically and politically from other parts of the country, but electricity, water, roads, schools, hospitals, employment and basic necessities has been the main issues even in the elections held here.
Keeping these issues in mind the public would have exercised its franchise. The natural beautyand lifestyle of the people of Jammu and Kashmir is highlighted daily in the newspapers and on TV Channels during this period.Naturally, water sources such as rivers, streams, glacier springs, snow-covered mountains and greenery have a distinct shade. For many years, tourists from all corners of the world are fascinated to see this. That’s why it is also called as the Switzerland of Asia.
On the other hand, this beautiful terrain of the earth is a victim of negligence on part of successive Governments and social backwardness. Residents here are still forced to live a life filled with various kinds of problems. People are still waiting in great anticipation that someday they will see the burning flames of development taking over this beautiful state. There are many areas in the state that are not only socially and economically backward but also naturally located in a very backward area. Naganadi village under Mandi tehsil of the border area of Poonch districtwhich is located at a distance of approx. 250 kms from Jammu is one of these backward areas. There is no road facility to reach this village. The situation is such that to reach this village, it is a 5 to 8 hours walk through dense jungles along the curved and rugged roads of the mountains and dense forests along the banks of the KaliyasRiver. The hill path is so narrow that people, with a slight discrepancy, can fall into the mouth of death by falling into a trench thousands of feet below. On the other hand, the jungle is so dense that if a woman is going to go alone it is extremely dangerous, but a lone man too is not free from danger. It is said that a companion and sticks are required in order to pass through this forest.
The difficulties in Naganadi are not only the lack of roads, but social life is also full of difficulties here. This village has also been very backward in education. According to local resident Hafez Bashir Ahmad, Naganadii is very much ahead of other areas in the field of religious education, but modern and scientific education is insignificant. None of the children living in the village could reach even the fifth grade. There is a primary school in the village but for minimal purposes. The plight of the school is such that local residents use this building for private functions. According to Ghulam Hussein, two teachers have been appointed in this school,out of which one teacher has never come here, while the other teacher marks his full attendance every day of the month. Neither has anyone seen any education in the school nor has anyone seen the mid-day meal being made. There is no information about the dress and other facilities the children get. No official from the education department has ever tried to know what the situation of this school is.
The lack of facilities is not limited only to the field of education, but basic needs like electricity; drinking water and health are also not available to the people of this village. No information has been provided to local residents about various beneficial schemes like MNREGA. The lack of basic necessities has pushed Naganadi village back a lot in the race for development. It would not be difficult for anyone to guess how the residents here are forced to live in extreme conditions. At the same time, it is also difficult to predict the severity of the future of the new generation by the lack of education. The elected representatives of the area may not even notice the troubles of the people of Naganadi village.
The country has been independent for more than 70 years; we have skyrocketed in the race for development. Schemes like ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ have made India a world leader. Various schemes like ‘Kishor Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana’ and ‘Khelo India’ are proving to be effective in furthering the skills of youth across the country while on the other hand, ground realities tell a different story in remote areas of the country like Naganali. The question that arises is that who is responsible for the future of these children living in the border areas of the country? What is the use of government schemes, even when the basic amenities are not available to them? How will the ‘BetiBachao-BetiPadhao’ scheme be successful when the daughter of the village does not have the facility of a primary school? How long will the stories of their difficulties last? The question is a bit tricky but is also a matter of fact. (Charkha Features)
Mohd. Riyaz Malik